Stop & Shop employees and customers returned to stores Monday following the conclusion of a 11-day strike, but the shelves remain empty at many area locations.
"There are certain things that I wanted that I couldn't get today," said Joanne Dineen after visiting the Reading, Massachusetts store.
The grocery store and the union representing employees came to a tentative agreement on Sunday after nearly two weeks of deliberation. Nearly 31,000 employees from Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut walked off the job on April 11 to protest stalled negotiations between the company and the United Food and Commercial Workers union.
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Numerous presidential candidates, including former Vice President Joe Biden, joined striking workers on the picket lines to show their support.
The prospective deal will last for three years and promises employees increased pay and continued benefits for those who are eligible.
Stop & Shop released a statement following the end of the strike and said it was thankful for its customers' patience.
"We are incredibly grateful to our customers and everyone who proudly stood together with us every day for a contract that invests in the communities we serve and makes Stop & Shop a better place to work and a better place to shop," the company said in a statement.
UFCW called the agreement a "victory" for the employees who were on strike.
"Under this proposed contract, our members will be able to focus on continuing to help customers in our communities enjoy the best shopping experience possible and to keep Stop & Shop the number one grocery store in New England," the union's statement read.
"It feels good to be back to work overall. I'm excited to be back in there helping the customers," Stop & Shop worker Rob Sheedy said.
Moving on from the strike, Stop & Shop's newest priority is to restock the shelves. They said they're working around-the-clock to get this done.
Some shelves were still empty on Monday, forcing some customers to walk away empty-handed. Regina McClay left the Stop & Shop store in Roxbury without any items.
"It's empty now and we understand why," she said.
"The bakery is completely wiped out, meat's wiped out," said customer Bob Luongo of the Reading store.
Other happy customers expressed their relief over the strike's end.
"We're so happy that the bargaining rights and everything came together and everybody’s back to work," shopper Monty Stevens said.
Stop & Shop apologized for the temporary inconvenience Monday, saying it appreciates the patience and understanding of its customers.